11th Condition for Peace: JOY!

June 9, 2017

“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times.” (Philippians 4:4)

“Pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional.” These are the words of Tim Hansel, a man who lived every day with excruciating pain. How can misery be optional for someone in agonizing pain? And why does Paul mention joy 17 times in the short letter he wrote from prison to his favorite church?

When we experience a relationship with the risen, living Christ there is a peace and joy that is not controlled by circumstances. The peace Paul prescribes doesn’t make sense because it “transcends human understanding.” According to Paul, the foundation of our peace is finding joy in Jesus Himself. We are to delight ourselves in the Lord and find peace and joy in Him at all times.

What is the foundation of your serenity and joy? If your foundation is relationships with loved ones, do you realize there is no relationship with people here in this life that cannot be removed? If it’s your health or athleticism, I can bear witness to the sad reality that is a fragile foundation. Many thousands of people who had a physical orientation around which their lives revolved before age, illness or injury destroyed them, will join me in warning you that health and physical abilities are fragile foundations for peace and joy.

Jesus commended Mary when she upset her sister Martha by sitting at His feet and listening to His Word rather than help with dinner preparations. With as much love for Martha as He had for Mary, Jesus said to Martha, “Mary has chosen the good part that will never be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

When Paul tells us to find our joy in the Lord, he is agreeing with what Jesus told Martha by directing us to build the foundations for our peace and joy in Jesus Christ.

“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in Him at all times!”

Dick Woodward, A Prescription for Peace


Joy, Joy, Joy !

December 13, 2016

“I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people!” (Luke 2:10)

Tim Hansel lived every day with debilitating, excruciating pain. Yet, in his book, You Gotta Keep Dancing, he wrote: “pain and suffering are inevitable, but misery is optional.” That is true for a Spirit controlled disciple of Jesus. Tim also wrote: “I can choose to be joyful.”

Joy is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit the Apostle Paul described in his letter to the Galatians. (Galatians 5: 22, 23)  As evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, joy can be paraphrased “happiness that does not make good sense.” The derivation of the word “happiness” pertains to what happens to us. But this joy, which is the fruit of the Spirit living in us, is not controlled by what happens to us. That is why we say it does not make good sense, especially to secular non-spiritual people. In the very short letter the Apostle Paul wrote from prison to his favorite church, the Philippians, he used the word joy seventeen times!

Appearing to the shepherds, the angels explained why their declaration would bring great joy to all people: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

Great joy came because the One born is the Savior.  He is the Christ, which is the Greek way of saying the Messiah. And He is to be our Lord. Joy came because Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to those who follow Him. This joy is intended for all people, including you and me.

Are you choosing to be joyful, anyway?

Dick Woodward, 20 December 2013


Joy, Peace and Optional Misery

April 8, 2016

“Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times.” (Philippians 4:4)

“While pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional.” Those were the words of Tim Hansel, a man who lived every day with excruciating pain (in his book You Gotta Keep Dancin’.)  How could misery be optional for someone in agonizing pain? And how do we explain Apostle Paul mentioning joy seventeen times in the short letter he wrote from prison to his favorite church?

Paul explains that for those who are experiencing a relationship with the risen, living Christ there is a peace and joy that is not controlled by circumstances. What Paul experienced could be called, “peace that doesn’t make good sense” and “joy that doesn’t make good sense.” According to Paul, the foundation of that peace and joy is the Lord Jesus Himself. He therefore prescribed that we are to delight ourselves in the Lord and then find our peace and joy in Him at all times.

What is the foundation for your peace and joy? If your foundation is the relationship with a loved one, do you realize there is no relationship with people here in this life that cannot be removed? If that foundation is your health, your youth or your athleticism, many thousands of people, who had those foundations before age, an illness, or an injury destroyed them, will join me in warning you that they are very fragile foundations for the peace and happiness Paul is prescribing.

In the Gospel of John 17:3 we’re told: And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  Jesus identified and declared the right foundation for us as knowing God and Jesus Christ Whom God sent into this world.

What is the foundation for your peace? your joy?

Dick Woodward, 23 June 2009

Editor’s Note: To learn more about Tim Hansel, who was a great inspiration to Dick Woodward, check out this blog written at Dick’s request by Clark Morledge over at Veracity.com.  Click here to read it: Joy: Tim Hansel


Great Joy for All People

December 20, 2013

“I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people!” (Luke 2:10)

A great man named Tim Hansel lived every day with excruciating pain.  He wrote in his book, You Gotta Keep Dancing, that pain and suffering are inevitable but misery is optional.  That is true for a Spirit controlled disciple of Jesus.  Tim also wrote “I can choose to be joyful.”

Joy is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit the Apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the Galatians (5: 22, 23).  As evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives joy could be paraphrased “happiness that does not make good sense.” The derivation of the word “happiness” has to do with what happens to us.  But this joy, which is the fruit of the Spirit living in us, is not controlled by what happens to us.  That is why we say it does not make good sense, especially to secular non-spiritual people.  In the very short letter the Apostle Paul wrote from prison to his favorite church, the Philippians, he used the word joy 17 times!

While appearing to the shepherds the angels explained why their declaration would bring great joy to all people: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

Great joy came because the One born is the Savior.  He is the Christ, which is the Greek way of saying the Messiah.  And He is to be our Lord. Joy came because He gives the Holy Spirit to those who follow Him. This joy is intended for all people, including you.

Are you choosing to be joyful, anyway?